While it is larger then a pistol and recoils more then a carbine, the shotgun has earned a place for home defense, law enforcement, and limited military use. The shotgun is versatile, firing a wide range of ammunition, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. We’ve highlighted our favorite enhancements below (we’ve included Brownells parts numbers and links for your reference):
- Ghost ring sights- We prefer ghost ring rights on our tactical and defensive shotguns. While any sight system will work, bead, rifle sights or ghost rings, we find ghost ring sights are optimal. Combining speed, familiarity (if the shooter is used to AR style aperture rear with a post front) and the precision needed for accurate placement of rifled slugs. Our favorite shotgun ghost ring sight systems are Vang Comp Systems (100-004-335) (which are a little harder to install, but provides a short rail section for mounting optics) and Scattergun Technologies (800-110-000) (less expensive and easier to install). You can read a comparison of the sight systems here.
- 18″ barrel- A short (and NFA legal) 18 or 18.5″ barrel is a must. You can either cut and crown the existing barrel, or, you can order a replacement. Saving the original barrel, gives versatility if you still want to hunt with the gun. OEM Remington “Police” barrels are available with either a bead base (767-000-385) or rifle sights (767-000-719) and Carlson’s makes an aftermarket barrel that is chrome lined and equipped with choke tubes (155-000-199) for added versatility.
- Reduced length stock- While only having pistol grip on your shotgun is a bad idea, reducing the length of pull of the factory stock, or, replacing it with a shorter aftermarket version are excellent ways to increase the handling characteristics of your shotgun. We have two favorites, the Urbino (100-006-707) tactical stock, which is a pistol grip fixed stock with an adjustable cheek piece and the Speedfeed 870-L (838-000-009) traditional pistol grip style stock. Both stocks are well made, provide a shorter length of pull, and meet the needs of most users.
- Integrated light- There are a few options to mount a white light on a shotgun, the user can clamp a light to the barrel or magazine rail, attach a light to a railed forearm, or install a forearm with an integrated light. Of the three options, we prefer the integrated lights. Surefire (152-000-123) and Insight both offer models, shown in our article here. GGG makes an excellent forearm with an embedded rail section (336-000-025) to mount a light, however, its placement on the right side of the forearm prevents effective usage by a left handed shooter due to the fact the it digs into the web of the lefties support hand. Barrel and magazine mounted clamp assemblies are our least favorite option to mount a light. While they work, actuating the light can be difficult, either requiring the user to activate a switch on the light itself, which is mounted forward, or utilizing a coiled extension cord. Additionally, the clamps have a tendency to slide around the barrel and magazine tube of the gun.
- Side saddle- Side saddles offer readily accessible ammunition, which is always a plus, but can prevent the shotgun from being mounted in many quick access safes which cover the receiver. When equipping a defensive use shotgun, we prefer the plastic 4 or 6 shot version (867-105-874).
- Magazine extension- We like the Wilson Combat 1-shot (800-710-990) and 2-shot(800-730-080) extensions. In addition to offering additional ammunition, the extensions provide a left side sling mounting loop, a heavier magazine spring and a high visibility non-binding follower. We prefer the handling characteristics of the 1-shot tube to the 2-shot model.
- Oversized safety– On the Remington 870, the addition of an oversized safety, such as the Scattergun Technologies (800-100-002), is a welcome addition to the relatively small factory button.
To read more about our some of our shotgun projects, click here.